Category Archives: Events and Competitions

BAME Humanities Study Day 2023 – Apply now!

Following a successful three-year run, University College, Magdalen College, and the Faculties of History and Modern Languages here at the University of Oxford are delighted to announce that the virtual BAME Humanities Study Day will return for 2023 on Tuesday 4th April!

This event offers UK state school students with Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage an exciting opportunity to engage with academic taster sessions from across the Humanities subjects, and also to access insight into Oxford student life and support with the admissions process.

Last year, students chose to attend academic taster lectures on fascinating topics such as:

  • There is no such thing as the perfect body… and other lessons we can learn from the ancient Greeks (Classics)
  • Sixteenth-century French Women’s Writing: Challenging Gender Expectations in selected works of the Dames des Roches (Medieval & Modern Languages)
  • Popular Music: History and Interpretation (Music)
  • The Shock of the Nude:  Art, Science, and the Racial Imaginary in Modern China (Art History)
  • The Grandfather of Islam in Buganda (History)
  • Medieval English and Arabic Religious Literature (English)

It was a fantastic insight into what university lectures will be like, and seeing so many passionate students pushed me to work harder to get in.

– 2021 Participant
Screenshot of the Q&A with undergraduates from the 2021 Humanities Study Day

This year, the day will open with an introduction to the University of Oxford followed by the opportunity to attend two humanities subject lectures. You will learn more about the Oxford application process with additional resources provided to help. The day will conclude with a live Q&A where you will have the opportunity to ask your questions to current Oxford students from BAME backgrounds.  

For the academic lectures , you will be able to choose from the following subjects: ClassicsEnglishHistoryHistory of ArtModern LanguagesMusicAsian and Middle Eastern StudiesMusicPhilosophy or Theology. You will be able to specify your preferred lectures on the application form.  All lectures will be recorded and available to watch after the event. If you are unable to attend live on the 4th April but would like access to the recordings and resources, then please still submit an application via the form below. 

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Currently in Year 12 (or equivalent)
  • Identifying as having Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) Heritage 
  • Attending a UK state school (unless you have extenuating circumstances or meet several of the priority criteria listed below) 
  • If spaces are limited, priority will be given to students who meet one or more of the following: first generation in your family to attend university, have experience of being in care, are a young carer, are eligible for Free School Meals/Pupil Premium, are from an area of deprivation or area with a low rate of progression to university.

To sign up, complete this application form.

Applications will close at 23:59 on February 26th 2023. We cannot guarantee every applicant a place but are aiming to accommodate a large number of students. You will find out if your application was successful by 10th March. 

If you have any questions about this form please email one of the organisers, Nuala, at

Learn more about languages at Oxford!

Here at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, we organise and run a range of open days for prospective applicants and their parents/guardians and teachers each year. Open days are one of the best ways for students to get a real feel for a University, helping them to make informed decisions about their futures.

The Taylor Institution Library, Oxford University’s centre for the study of Modern European languages and literatures.

Over the course of February and March, we will be holding our language-specific open days, designed to provide greater insight into our undergraduate degree programmes. In comparison to our wider open day later in the year, language-specific open days are smaller and more focused in their scope, allowing more time to explore a subject in depth.

For example, the German Open Day offers an introduction to German film, German linguistics, and different types of German literature. On the Spanish and Portuguese Open Day, our wonderful academics will provide an introduction to Transatlantic Iberian Culture and attendees will get the chance to learn Portuguese in 15 minutes.

So, if you’re thinking about applying to study languages at Oxford, or want to find out more about a particular course, these open days offer a wonderful opportunity to meet some of our tutors and current students, come along to academic taster sessions which will give you a flavour of what it’s like to study languages, and ask lots of questions.

Below are the details of our 2023 language-specific open days. You will need to book a place at these events, which you can do via our open day website, where you will also find the event programmes.

Language-specific open days 2023

*Our German Open Day has been designed to be accessible for students considering beginners’ German. From this year’s admissions cycle, applicants can mix Joint Schools subjects with beginners’ German, so if you’re considering a degree in English, History, Philosophy etc., why not come along and try out some German!

You may have noticed that there is no specific open day for French: students interested in French should attend the Faculty’s main open day later in the year or one of the University open days in June or September. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about those events in future blog posts.

We look forward to having you along to our language-specific open days – don’t forget to book your place!

While you’re here: a reminder that applications to our 2023 UNIQ programme are still open! You can read more about this fantastic opportunity for UK state school students in last week’s blog post, or head to the website for further information.

Apply by 23 January!

UNIQ 2023 – Apply now!

We’re delighted to announce that applications for UNIQ 2023 are now open until Monday 23 January!

What is UNIQ?

UNIQ is Oxford University’s flagship outreach programme for Year 12 students at UK state schools/colleges. It is completely free and prioritises places for students with good grades from backgrounds that are under-represented at Oxford and other universities. 

What does the programme entail?

Find out more here!

UNIQ 2023 offers an online support programme starting in April, academic courses and an in-person residential in Oxford over the summer, followed by university admissions support in August to December.

During the summer residential, students have the opportunity to experience life as an Oxford undergraduate by staying in an Oxford college and exploring the city for themselves. They will also get to know some of our Oxford undergraduates and work with our academics in face to face lectures and tutorials.

What does this look like for Modern Languages?

For Modern Languages, there will be courses available for SpanishFrench, and German. All three courses enable students to explore the language, literature, theatre, film, and linguistics of each discipline, while also providing the opportunity to have a taster of other European languages at a beginners’ level.

Our aim is to give students a taste of what it is really like to study Modern Languages at Oxford, and to provide a sense of the breadth of our courses – including several of the languages you can study here as a beginner.

What are the benefits?

Throughout the UNIQ programme, students will explore subjects they love and gain a real insight into Oxford life, helping them to prepare for university, and decide what is right for them. UNIQ also enables students with similar interests in local regions and across the UK to connect with each other through social and academic activities.

Most UNIQ students go on to apply to the University of Oxford and they also get help to prepare for our admissions tests and interviews. Consequently, UNIQ participants are more likely to make successful applications to Oxford.

Comments from previous UNIQ participants

How do I apply?

We welcome applications from:

  • Year 12 students from England and Wales, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • Year 13 students from Northern Ireland, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • S5 students from Scotland, studying Highers or equivalent

The online application process is quick and easy – it only takes 10 minutes! – and can be completed via the UNIQ website. Applications close on Monday 23 January at 11pm.

As UNIQ is an access programme, admission to UNIQ 2023 will be based on a range of criteria that relate to students’ academic potential and socio-economic background. You can read more about this here.

Good luck to all applicants!


Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had a wonderful and restful break over the festive period.

We’re delighted to announce the return of our ever-popular French and Spanish Flash Fiction competitions for secondary school pupils. If you are learning French and/or Spanish in Years 7-13, you are invited to send us a *very* short story to be in with a chance of winning up to £100. Read on to find out more…

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

What is Flash Fiction?

We’re looking for a complete story, written in French or Spanish, using no more than 100 words.

Did you know that the shortest story in Spanish is only seven words long?

Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí.
(When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.)

– Augusto Monterroso Bonilla (1921-2003)

What are the judges looking for?

Our judging panel of academics will be looking for imagination and narrative flair, as well as linguistic ability and accuracy. Your use of French or Spanish will be considered in the context of your age and year group: in other words, we will not expect younger pupils to compete against older pupils linguistically. For inspiration, you can read last year’s winning entries for French here, and for Spanish here.

What do I win?

The judges will award a top prize of £100, as well as prizes of £25 to a maximum of two runners up, in each category. Certificates will also be awarded to pupils who have been highly commended by our judges. Results as well as the winning, runner up, and highly commended stories will be published on this blog, if entrants give us permission to do so.

How do I enter?

You can submit your story via our online forms at the links below. This year, in response to the amazing number of entries we received last year, we have expanded the competition to include a third age category!

Years 7-9 (ages 11-14) Years 7-9 (ages 11-14)
Years 10-11 (ages 14-16) Years 10-11 (ages 14-16)
Years 12-13 (ages 16-18) Years 12-13 (ages 16-18)
Click on the links to be taken to the correct submission form for your age/year group.

You may only submit one story per language but you are welcome to submit one story in French AND one story in Spanish if you would like to. Your submission should be uploaded as a Word document or PDF.

The deadline for submissions is noon on Thursday 31st March 2023.

Please note that, because of GDPR, teachers cannot enter on their students’ behalf: students must submit their entries themselves.

If you have any questions, please email us at

Bonne chance à tous! ¡Buena suerte a todos!

Dante700 Competition – Winners announced!

2021 marked the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. To honour this occasion, colleagues in the Sub-Faculty of Italian set up the University of Oxford’s Dante700 Competition. In its aim to introduce Dante and his work to students of all ages in a fun and engaging way, the competition invited primary and secondary school pupils to submit a visual response, a poem, or prose piece to a given canto or to Dante’s Commedia as a whole.

The Dante700 Competition ran from December 2021 until April 2022

Our judges were extremely impressed with the hard work and creativity that went into every entry. On behalf of the judging panel, Professor Simon Gilson commented the following about all of the submissions to the competition:

We had a wonderfully rich array of entries but were particularly impressed by the winning students’ engagement with Dante. It was really remarkable to see the variety and quality of the students’ own creative responses across a range of media, in prose, verse, and various art forms. I learned a great deal from how their responses reframed Dante. The competition truly helped us to see how perennially fascinating Dante’s works, ideas and images remain for students of all ages today.

We received over 50 submissions to the competition across the different themes and age categories, from which the following pupils were selected as winners, receiving certificates as well as exclusive prizes kindly supported by Moleskine:

Ulysses – KS2/3 (age 7-14):
Matilda White, Year 6, Birch Church of England Primary School

Lucifer – KS3/4 (age 11-16):
Jack Cotton, Year 9, Bexley Grammar School
Gabriella Akanbi, Year 8, Bexley Grammar School
Selasi Amenyo, Year 8, Bexley Grammar School
Holly Filer, Year 8, Bexley Grammar School
Tarin Houston, Year 9, Bexley Grammar School

Limbo – KS4/5 (age 15-18):
Freddy Chelsom, Year 12, Abingdon School

Open response (all ages):
Zara Jessa, Year 11, Nottingham High School
Eden Murphy, Year 10, James Allen’s Girls’ School
Cara Bossom, Year 12, Francis Holland School

To celebrate our competition winners, we were delighted to hold a small online prize giving ceremony on Tuesday 4October via Microsoft Teams. Led by Professor Gilson and joined by teachers and parents, the event provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase the diverse winning entries and talk to the students about what attracted them to the competition and to Dante’s writings more generally.

In addition to the online event, Dr Caroline Dormor has put together a fantastic virtual anthology of the winning submissions along with the judges’ comments which can be viewed here. Hopefully you will agree that the range of responses to and interpretations of Dante’s writings is truly remarkable!

Huge congratulations to all our winners!

Please note that all educational resources from the competition can still be accessed here.

International Book Club – AUTUMN MEETING

In this week’s blog post, our colleagues from The Queen’s College Translation Exchange share details of their next International Book Club meeting – a really wonderful opportunity for school students to engage with literature from around the world!

The International Book Club for Schools is a chance for sixth-form students to explore foreign language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving peers. We meet once a term to discuss a foreign language book in English translation. No knowledge of the original language is required to take part. The meetings take place over Microsoft Teams, and places are open to school pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13/S4-6. Newcomers are always very welcome!

Our next session will be held on Wednesday 30th November at 7pm, and we will be reading Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey. Set in the 1980s in Lagos de Moreno, Quesadillas offers a lively, cynical, and satirical take on Mexican politics and family life, in a world where the possible and the impossible seem to have switched places.

For anyone thinking of studying languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail during a half-hour Q&A session with current Oxford University students, chaired by the Schools Liaison and Outreach Officer at the Queen’s College. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for students to explore books that aren’t on their school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.  

Students can sign up to attend the Book Club by completing this Google Form.

To take part in the International Book Club, students will need to purchase and read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. If a student’s financial situation makes it impossible to purchase a copy of the book, drop us an email ( and we will do our best to work something out.

If you have any questions about the Book Club, please do also get in touch at the email address above!

Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project: Resources

The Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project (2021–2022) has now come to a close. This was an AHRC-funded joint project between the University of Oxford and the Stephen Spender Trust.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Jane-eyre-1024x244.jpg
Image taken from the Stephen Spender Trust website

On 30 September 2021 — International Translation Day — the nationwide competition was launched. Entrants were asked to compose a poem in a language other than English inspired by a selected passage from Jane Eyre. The competition accepted submissions in any language, and 136 entries were received in 26 languages — including Sindarin, a form of Elvish devised by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Up to 100 entries to the competition have been included in an anthology, which will be published online and in print in September 2022.

The Project drew on translation as an educational tool to explore how Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel has been translated since its publication in 1847 and how its plots and themes can be used as a springboard for new creative works. It comprised of three core activities: a series of translation workshops; a nation-wide translation competition (as mentioned above); and a bank of resources for teachers and pupils.  

The bank of resources aims to allow more young people to enjoy creative translation activities based on Jane Eyre. Initially developed to support entries to the competition, these resources now provide a lasting legacy for the Project.  

Three types of resources are available: 

  1. A handout that outlines an approach to creating a poem from a passage of prose (all languages) 
  2. PowerPoint workshops for teachers to deliver in school with accompanying worksheets (Arabic, French, Polish, Spanish) 
  3. Pupil-led activity worksheets (Arabic, French, Polish, Spanish). 

The Project’s resources are available here and here. To accompany these resources, we’ve created a short video explaining what creative translation is, and why it’s important. The video is available to view below.  

Prismatic Jane Eyre: Translators’ Video

MFL Teachers’ Mailing List Prize Draw

MFL Teachers! There’s still time to sign up to our mailing list for a chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for your school!

Here in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, one of our goals this year is to improve our reach and develop links with more MFL teachers and schools across the country. We would love for more teachers and pupils to get involved in the MFL activities and events we run throughout the school year, in the hope of encouraging more and more pupils to continue with their language learning to GCSE and beyond.

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash

With this aim in mind, we have decided to run a prize draw for new sign ups to our mailing list! All new contacts will be automatically entered into our prize draw for new sign ups, which offers the chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for their MFL department. The form for new sign ups can be found here.

In addition, if you refer an MFL colleague to our mailing list, you will be automatically entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw, also for £100 worth of vouchers for your department! Your colleague(s) just needs to mention your name and school while signing up, and we will take care of the rest. Therefore, we would be very grateful if you could also spread the word far and wide to your colleagues, teacher friends, and networks! (Do make sure to remind colleagues to include your details when signing up so you can be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw.)

A few extra details: Multiple MFL Teachers from the same school can sign up as new contacts or recommend colleagues (in order to be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw), to increase a school’s chance of winning. Please note, however, that the same school cannot win both prize draws. In the unlikely case that teachers from the same school are selected for both prizes, the second prize will be redrawn.

The deadline to enter the prize draw is 10am on Tuesday 20th September. We will be announcing the winners of both draws at our annual MFL Teachers’ Conference, taking place on 23-24 September. Winners will be notified via email the week commencing 26 September.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to welcoming lots of you to our ever-growing network of wonderful MFL teachers!


Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the first set of highly commended entries for the Year 12-13 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Without further ado, ¡venga, vamos!

La libertad, por fin

Photo by Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga on Unsplash

Para Esteban, la vida en la cárcel fue un alivio. Por la primera vez en su vida, no tenía responsabilidades. Sin alquiler. Sin seguro de coche. Nada de pasear al perro. Nada de problemas. Ahora, Esteban era feliz y libre. Aún más, estaba libre de Paula. Había llevado demasiados años para que él se dé cuenta del prisionero que había sido en el exterior. Y aunque la prisión fuera severa para sus amigos, Esteban conocía la verdad del adagio: las circunstancias extremas exigen medidas extremas. Además, estaría fuera en unos años, y solo él sabía dónde estaba enterrado el dinero.

Aarav Ganguli, Year 12

Photo by Darinka Kievskaya on Unsplash


Me persiguió por la habitación con una expresión furiosa y un comportamiento aterrador. Corrí por cada rinconcito, siempre un paso por delante de los monstruosos gritos que salían de su boca. Como si estuviera en una misión para capturar a un ladrón, continuó mirando con esa mirada de fuego. “Te atraparé”, dijo. De repente saltando sobre mí como un guepardo capturando a su presa, me levantó. Su rostro estaba contorsionado por la ira y el estrés, mirando mis ojos inocentes con los suyos llameantes.
“Toto, Estas mal comportada” y “dejalo” me regañó.
Creo que quitaré los trajes de mi lista de juguetes para masticar.

Marina Michelli-Marsden, Year 12

Photo by Jay Mantri on Unsplash


Ninguna luz podía llegar al bosque. El sol se oscureció y luego
desapareció por completo- tan mucho que dudas de que hubiera estado
allí en absoluto. En cada árbol colosal se talló un nombre, estiramiento
alrededor del tronco como un niño extiende sus brazos alrededor de su
madre, desesperada por la seguridad que aporta. La madre naturaleza
se preocupa por ellos ahora. En este monumento a los muertos sin
duelo por las mentes humanas, sus nombres la estropean
permanentemente mientras asume la carga de su recuerdo. Otra caída;
otro crece, y los esconde.
Sus nombres la queman. Llora. Cura.

Libby Rock, Year 12

Los navíos del Mundo Nuevo 

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Habíamos visto fuegos en el aire, fantasmas y espíritus. Dioses benévolos siempre habían venido del agua inconmensurable. Y por eso, reímos cuando vimos los navíos, navegados por barbaros. Caras sucias, barbas largas. Piel increíblemente blanca. Una neblina de sondeo indescifrable.

Se acercaron. Un enjambre, encerrado en metal. Continuamente se tocaban sus cabezas, sus corazones y sus hombros. ¿Un lenguaje? Cuando copiamos su ademán, cayeron de rodillas y lloraron.

Repitieron algo una y otra vez.

Mis labios se contorsionaron en formas extrañas, y dije “Ah-or-a, so-is Cri-stia-nos”

Cuando vieron nuestros pendientes, oí la emisión ‘oro’.

Todavía no sabía lo que significaba.

Anna Couzens, Year 12

Photo by Espen Bierud on Unsplash

La Retirada

Con una sonrisa tenue brilla el tono ópalo de la luz de la luna, compartiendo su cielo con las estrellas llorosas, solo separados por el vacío interminable de la galaxia. Pequeñas hogueras iluminan las montañas con un resplandor infernal y atrevido, y los dedos largos de la llama exponen las caras vacías de los que huyen. Con los pies tan entumecidos como sus corazones, el dolor de su pasado brilla como lágrimas en los ojos. Agarrando sus chales y abrigos, intentan en vano, amainar el lacerante frío y batallan contra las garras de la muerte.

Matilda Lawson, Year 12

¡ Felicidades a todos!


MFL Teachers – don’t forget! You can:

  • Sign up to our mailing list here to get updates about our schools events and activities, and for a chance to win £100 of vouchers for your department;
  • Learn more about and book on to our MFL Teachers’ Conference (23-24 September) here.

    Any questions: contact us at


Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the first set of highly commended entries for the Year 12-13 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Without further ado, ¡venga, vamos!

            Buenos Aires, julio de 1977

Photo by Pavel Neznanov on Unsplash

El lunes, yo vi a un fantasma.

Miraba el atardecer por la ventana, cuando apareció repentinamente en aquella propiedad sombría frente a mi casa. Todo encapuchadito, sin rostro, siendo empujado por dos polis que lo llevaban al sótano del edificio. Mi mamá me dijo que dejara de decir bobadas. ‘¿No conocés la historia de Pinocho?’ me regañó, pero te lo juro que le vi y que oí su llanto espeluznante por la noche. Me quedo esperando para ver si habrá otros fantasmas. Anteayer hubo uno, ayer dos y hoy tres.

Todos entran, pero ningún sale. 

Adam Noad, Year 12


Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Supresión. Estremecimiento. Miedo.

Agua fría envolvió su cuerpo. El frío le arrastró a las profundidades del mar. Las mortíferas olas se alzaron sobre el joven. Miedo recorrió su cuerpo como un rayo que no lo soltaba. Una ola gigantesca se lo tragó y cayó la oscuridad. Cuando abrió los ojos y trató de respirar, solamente pudo percibir vagamente que se hundía cada vez más. Sus gritos de auxilio fueron inútiles. La profundidad del mar se lo había tragado para siempre. La vida puede ser nuestro mayor oponente: todo forma parte de la huida del ahogamiento en pensamientos desagradables.

Supresión. Estremecimiento. Miedo.

Nicole Puhr, Year 12

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Soy una cuchara de plástico.

Fui hecha en China. Comprada en Amazon. Volada al Inglaterra. Conducida con cientos de las mías a una escuela.

Recogida por un niño emocionado. Dejada por un niño emocionado. Tirado a la papelera por un profesor cansado.

La bolsa estaba rota. Fui dejada en la calle. Transportada en un río por la lluvia. Llevada al mar por la corriente.

Eso fue hace años.

Las olas me han desgastada. Pero sigo aquí. Los pájaros y los peces me han comida. Pero sigo allí.

Debería sentirme mal. Pero no siento nada.

Porque soy una cuchara de plástico.

Toni Agbede, Year 12

La Mar

Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash

El miedo me ha envuelto. Tenía una tarea. Una tarea imposible. La brisa marina salada mordió mi cara, ordenándome que tuviera éxito. La naturaleza se ha convertido no sólo en mi señora, sino también mi torturadora en este barco. Las olas turquesas acarician el barco. Quiero unirme a su reino azul.

“¡Capitán, concéntrese!”

Una tarea imposible.

Las balas de lluvia aporrean la cubierta del barco. La verdadera ira de la mar. Me palpita la cabeza. Nuestro destino es desconocido.

Negar su exigencia sería imposible. Sus ojos de azul zafiro perforan mi alma.

Me someto a ella. 

Polly O’Sullivan, Year 12

Photo by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

El marinero, tratando de mantenerse despierto, cuenta las constelaciones, pintadas por el universo para guiarlo.

Un silencio escalofriante, roto solo por olas oscuras que empujan su barco hacia adelante.

De repente, una voz de miel llena el aire salado. La canción espectral rueda, como un tsunami, hacia el marinero, y gira dulcemente su cabeza hacia el océano.

Entonces la ve. Sus ojos apenas por encima de las olas, brillando más que la Estrella del Norte, lo orientan hacia ella.

Se zambulle, luego grita mientras el océano llena sus pulmones, y desaparece en las aguas negras.

Todo vuelve al silencio.

Daria Pershina, Year 12

¡ Felicidades a todos!


MFL Teachers – don’t forget! You can:

  • Sign up to our mailing list here to get updates about our schools events and activities, and for a chance to win £100 of vouchers for your department;
  • Learn more about and book on to our MFL Teachers’ Conference (23-24 September) here.

    Any questions: contact us at